I got takeout recently from the wonderful Nikki’s Place, the southern restaurant on Carter Street, and came to the conclusion that Nikki either needs to decrease the portion sizes or get sturdier takeout containers.
I vote for the latter.
I ordered three meals for curbside pickup because I couldn’t decide on just two. I pulled up to the restaurant and before I could put the car in park someone, properly masked, was coming out the front door with my food in a plastic sack. She placed it in my trunk and I was on my way.
But when I got home, I discovered that the weight of the two dinners on top had crushed the foam clamshell container on the bottom, such was the heft of the food inside. A little gravy had spilled out from the crushed box, but most of it was still intact.
And there was no detriment to the quality of the food, which is as first rate as ever.
My companion ordered the Carolina beef stew, which is usually one of my go-to dishes. It had hefty hunks of meat slow-cooked into pull-apart tenderness. Lots of carrots and potatoes –because stew – and a wonderfully thick gravy for the yellow rice underneath. Every meal comes with a choice of two sides. The two chosen here were lima beans, buttery and tender, and boiled cabbage.
My first choice was the smothered pork chops, center-cut chops lightly floured and browned, under a thickened gravy loaded with sautéed onions, served with mashed potatoes and more gravy – what other choice could I make? – and stewed tomatoes and okra. That was in addition to the white rice that was under it all.
No wonder it was heavy enough to crack the box of the southern style oxtails, my second entree choice. The bony bits of meat were smothered in their own gravy, with carrots and potatoes blended in and another ample serving of yellow rice below. Collards and macaroni and cheese were the sides I selected to go with this one.
And each dish came with a delicate but full flavored corn muffin. It was a tremendous amount of food, and when you consider that nothing cost more than $14.99 it was a great bargain, as well.
By the way, don’t bother with the Postmates ordering form on Nikki’s Place’s website. I went all through the process, including entering my credit card information, then had the order thrown out. It was an issue with Postmates, a third-party application, and not Nikki’s. And besides, it’s much more pleasant to call the restaurant and speak to someone directly. They’re warm and welcoming and friendly.
I generally cringe when I see restaurant food referred to as homemade or home cooking. But that’s the overwhelming trait of the food from Nikki’s Place. It’s a true Orlando treasure and at 20 years old, an official Orlando Classic.
Nikki’s Place is at 742 Carter St., Orlando. It is open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner (6 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, 7 p.m. the rest of the week) Wednesday through Monday. The phone number is 407-425-5301.